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The Millennials: Willie Reed continues his family’s legacy

Saturday, February 07, 2015 1:41 PM | Anonymous

The M February 7 Editor’s N among ag millennial also know generation This is the community By Kate K LUDINGT and Presid families in The Reed grandparen Reed. Willie, a 1 graduation He marrie Rachel, 10 for Frito-L “We move and then m Millenni 7, 2015 Note: Sustaini ge groups. An ls who have ta wn as Generati n grew up in t e fourth story y. Krieger. Senio TON – When dent Willie Re n the commun family has ow nts, Willie is a 1998 Ludingto n. He attended d his wife, Ste 0, Ty, 8, and A Lay. ed to West Vir moved into a d ials: Wi ing a commun unintended m aken a role in ion Y, is defin the digital age in our weekly or Correspon most people th eed, 34, the bee ity he loves so wned and oper a fourth gener on High Schoo d Miami Unive ephanie (Houk Austin, 6. Afte rginia for my distribution ass llie Ree W nity and keepi movement the n community a ned as a perso e and often off series on the ndent. hink of Ludin er is just the p o dear. rated Ludingto ration who is r ol graduate, ne ersity, in Oxfo k), also a Ludi er graduating f first job with F signment for t ed contin Willie Reed ing it vibrant r last few years and business l on who was bo ffers a unique area’s millenn ngton Beverage product which on Beverage fo running the ma ever dreamed t ord, Ohio and r ington native, from college, W Frito-Lay,” he them.” nues hi requires diver s has been the leadership in orn in the earl e and fresh per nials who are e, they usually has supported or the last 83. ajority of the b that he would received his b 12 years ago. Willie accepte e says. “I did a s family rsity on many e increased nu Mason Count ly ‘80s and so rspective to le e making an im y think of beer d his family an Founded by W business with return to his h bachelor’s deg The couple h ed a job with P a truck route f y’s legac levels, especi umber of ty. A millenni ooner. This eadership. mpact in our r, but to co-ow nd many other Willie’s greathis uncle, Bud hometown afte gree in marketi has three childr PepsiCo, work for seven mont cy. ially ial, wner r dde er ing. ren: king ths The move to West Virginia was a short one and a year later, Willie and Stephanie moved to Akron, Ohio, where Willie continued to move up the ladder with Frito-Lay. The couple stayed in Ohio for a few years and then landed back in Michigan around Detroit, where Willie became the Frito-Lay Wal-Mart account manager. After two years with that title, he was promoted again to become the Wal-Mart regional sales manager, where he and seven other people were in charge of all the Frito-Lay sales in Wal-Marts across the United States. Willie managed sales in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. “I loved my job at Frito-Lay,” he says. “There was a lot of moving with it. I really thought I’d stayed with it for a while.” Being promoted yet again, Willie then moved on to being the zone sales leader in Sterling Heights, where he was in charge of overseeing several executives and 110 routes. Spending 10 years with the business, Willie then was in the full swing of his career when an opportunity to return home came about. His grandparents never forced either of their sons, Todd or Budde, to get into the business at Ludington Beverage, but it was something Budde wanted to do. When he started looking to slow down, he turned to his son, Ryan to see if he had any interest in taking over the family business. “Four years ago, Budde was at the point where he was needing to figure out the future of the business,” Willie says. “He mentioned it to Ryan, looking into the future and Ryan took some time, but told him that he really loved what he was doing as a photojournalist and the business wasn’t for him.” Ryan told his dad to go to his cousins to discuss their interest, so Budde went to Todd’s sons, Tad, Brad and Willie to ask them about the possibility of moving into the business. “Tad has an amazing career in the military,” Willie says. “Brad and my dad have a great thing going with the gallery (Todd and Brad Reed Photography) and their books and I really loved what I was doing. But after talking to Budde, Steph and I talked it over and it was the right thing to do.” Wanting to keep the business local and in the family as much as possible, Willie and his family moved back to Ludington and Willie got settled into a new routine with his uncle, working at the family’s business. “We are the only local beer distributor left in town,” Willie says. “I grew up with the people who work at Ludington Beverage. They were all such great mentors to me and it was an honor and a privilege to come back.” After the first year of learning the ropes, Budde turned over the president title to Willie. Willie says that without having a great group of people working with him, he wouldn’t be able to do as much as he can in the community and for the community. “The entire team really built me up,” he says. “They have a lot of knowledge and are very influential.” Coming back after being gone for a decade, Willie says he and his family are extremely blessed to be able to live in Ludington and help support the goings-on throughout the community. “I took a lot for granted when growing up,” he says. “Being gone for 10 years really made me see the opportunities the community had to offer. We’re blessed, not a lot of people can come back here.” Willie serves on many state and nationwide committees and boards for Ludington Beverage and continues to volunteer locally as much as he can including serving on the Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce board, the Manistee Chamber of Commerce board, Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital finance board, United Way of Mason County’s “Children Achieving Their Full Potential,” the West Shore Community College Foundation board and the Spectrum Health Ludington foundation board.. “The opportunities I’ve had here have been mind blowing,” he says. “We all feel very fortunate for what my previous family members have done for us, the business and the community. I hope one day one of my kids carries on the tradition and wants to work here.” With a great staff behind him, Willie continues to move Ludington Beverage forward as one Ludington’s oldest family owned and operated businesses. “It’s so much more than me,” he says. “It’s the community. Mason County is pretty amazing. Our people are so great at the company. If I decided not to show up tomorrow, the business would still move forward because of the people. They have great leadership and give me good guidance. It’s all about our team, not me.” 

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